Ratzinger as well, when he was prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, was less insistent than he is today. Offenses against the sixth commandment were the exclusive domain of his congregation, but in a number of cases, even very circumstantiated denunciations were never pursued. Still in November of 2002, when the scandal in the United States was at its acme, Ratzinger minimized the number of guilty priests: “less than 1 percent,” and he attributed the explosion of the scandal above all to “the desire to discredit the Church.”
But then he changed course. It was the autumn of 2004, and Ratzinger ordered the promoter of justice at the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, to retrieve from the files all the cases concerning the sixth commandment.
The order was: “Every case must take its normal course.” In other words: no one could be held as untouchable anymore, not even those protected by the then extremely powerful cardinal Sodano, and not even the favorites of the reigning pope, John Paul II.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Magister has something on the remarks of the Holy Father to the Irish bishops and the growing efforts of the Holy See in cracking down on priest who abused minors.